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Cartel probe into division of Sweden’s 4G network

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) is looking into whether the division of the Sweden's new 4G network by the country's five big mobile operators may have been an attempt to exclude other players from entering the market.

The partition of the network took place in November 2008 through an agreement generally referred to as a “frequency pact”.

At that time, the five mobile giants involved, TeliaSonera, Telenor, Tele 2, Swefour and Three, presented an agreement regarding how Sweden’s 900 Mhz bandwidth would be divided.

However, the so-called “frequency pact” has been called questionIn by operator Ventelo, which reported the arrangement made through the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) to the EU commission in the spring of 2009.

The move provoked a succession of critical questions from Brussels, leading the Swedish government to order an investigation of the pact by the Competition Authority.

According to the magazine Computer Sweden, the investigation is still ongoing.

“Market division is particularly serious type of infraction. Within their agreement, the operators have refrained from competing over a valuable commodity. In addition, the agreement implies that the entirety of the 900 MHz bandwidth will be shared amongst the five largest companies with telecommunications in Sweden”, writes the Competition Authority.

In addition, the agency believes the pact hinders current and potential competition, including competitors from other EU member states, from entering the Swedish market for the next 15 years.

Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (Näringsdepartementet) is due to provide the EU commission with an response by mid-October.

Should their findings indicate that the agreement stands in violation of EU regulations, the licensing distribution process will have to be redone.

The investigation covers not only how the frequency division was made, but also poses questions as to whether the five operators are guilty of illegal cartel building during the course of their collaboration.

“We are investigating whether the cooperation was in breach of competition laws, whether it imposes limits on the competition,” Staffan Martinsson of the Swedish Competition Authority told the TT news agency.

If the mobile operators end up in court for illegal cartel building, they can expect to pay hefty fines.

”That might be the case, but I don’t want to speculate right now,” said Martinsson.

In the most extensive case of cartel building to come to light in Sweden, several companies were found guilty of dividing up the Swedish asphalt market.

The total fines amounted to 200 million kronor ($29 million).

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SAMI

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Found out what’s going on in Norway on Tuesday with the Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The northern lights in Tromsø. Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

One in ten international students in Norway has had Covid-19

Ten percent of overseas students studying in Norway, compared to just 2.9 percent of Norwegian students, have had Covid-19, according to the Students Health and Well Being Survey (SHoT).

Some 62,000 thousand of Norway’s 300,000 students responded to the survey.

READ MORE: Are Norway’s Covid-19 numbers on track for reopening?

Overall, nearly three percent said that they been infected with the Coronavirus, just over half have had to self isolate, and 70 percent took tests.

Woman in her 40’s charged with murder

A woman has been charged with murder in Halden, southeast Norway after a body was found in an apartment in the towns centre.

She will be questioned on Tuesday. A public defender has been appointed. 

Six police cars attended the scene at a small housing association in the centre of Halden.

A person found in the same apartment is being questioned as a witness.

Network provider Telenor’s revenues down 2.1 billion kroner compared to last year

Telenor’s revenues are down 2.1 billion in the first quarter and the company has written of its 6.5 billion kroner investment in Myanmar following Februarys military coup.

The mobile network operator became one of the first foreign providers in the country and had gained a 35 percent market share.

However, the country’s new military regime shut down the mobile network on March 15th.

“In Myanmar, we are experiencing a confusing and uncertain situation. We are deeply concerned about the development in the country,” The company stated in its quarterly report.

Norway and Sweden in reindeer border dispute

Swedish Sami reindeer herders will appear in court this week in a case against the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The Swedish Sami herders believe they have exclusive rights to grazing areas across the Norwegian border because they have lived in the surrounding area for hundreds of years. The Norwegian government rejects these claims.

The reindeer grazing convention will be central to the case; the convention facilitates mutual cross-border grazing for reindeer herds.

Sweden withdrew from the convention in 2005. However, Norway enshrined the convention in law in 2005.

483 Coronavirus infections recorded

On Monday, 483 new cases of Covid-29 were registered, an increase of 75 compared to the average of the previous week.

READ ALSO: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid vaccine 

This is down from 1150 cases registered during the peak of Norway’s third wave on March 16th.

This is partly because fewer infections are registered during weekends and public holidays, causing an uptick on Mondays.

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